Amy Adams

‘Moana’ Stays On Top In Quiet Box Office Weekend

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Although both films battled some close box office numbers throughout the week, audiences returned for Moana by the time the weekend hit, helping the Disney film earn its second weekend box office crown in a row.

The film, which stars the voices of Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson, earned $28.4 million, according to early box office returns provided by The Numbers, more than enough to top Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at $18.5 million.

incarnate-inset120416The first weekend in December is traditionally a slower time for movie theaters as studios are waiting for the true start of the Christmas holiday season before releasing films, closer to the middle of the month. The only wide-release film this weekend was the horror film Incarnate starring Aaron Eckhart and Carice van Houten.

However, that film was basically a non-factor, earning $2.7 million and debuting at No. 9, according to early returns.

Moana has brought its 12-day total to $119.9 million. That moves it into the No. 20 slot for the year in domestic box office, moving ahead of Bad Moms and closing quickly on the $124.5 million of Sully. In fact, if Moana stays on its box office track, it could find itself fighting with Trolls for the No. 15 slot as early as next weekend.

trolls-inset120416Trolls is remaining strong, despite moving just out of the top five for the weekend. Its $4.6 million weekend, has brought its month-long total to $141.4 million.

But it does look like it will ultimately be passed by Moana, which isn’t the best news for Twentieth Century Fox’s animation unit that is looking to compete better with Disney.

Arrival continues to draw in new audiences despite more than three weeks in theaters. Its $7.3 million weekend was good enough for third, and was just a 36 percent drop from last week. That’s solid, compared to more typical 50 percent drops from films like Moana and Doctor Strange.

Speaking of the Benedict Cumberbatch film, Doctor Strange stayed just in the top five with $6.5 million, being just edged out by Paramount Pictures’ Allied. The Marvel film has brought its 31-day total to $215.3 million, keeping it at No. 10 domestically, but could likely be overtaken by Fantastic Beasts for the slot by the time the holiday movie season starts.

The top five films so far this weekend earned $67.8 million, according to early studio estimates. That’s down just slightly from a year ago when the top five films – led by an $18.9 million weekend from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – earned $71 million. Like this week, the only new film was a holiday horror flick, Krampus, which debuted at No. 2 with $16.3 million, pushing Disney’s The Good Dinosaur to third with $15.3 million.

The weekend, with no new major releases, was obviously down significantly from last week, when the top five films picked up $138.2 million, led by the $55 million opening from Moana.

There is just one more week of quiet box office before the real fun (aka Rogue One‘s opening) gets underway. But there are still some new films to look for.

christmasparty-inset120416Paramount will release Office Christmas Party starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, while both EuropaCorp and Focus Features will expand the releases of Miss Sloane and Nocturnal Animals.

Miss Sloane, starring Jessica Chastain and Mark Strong, earned an impressive $11,000 per screen this weekend, bringing its limited release total to just over $123,000. Nocturnal Animals from writer and director Tom Ford has now earned $2.7 million following a $690,000 weekend on just 127 screens.

That film stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon.

Andrew Garfield ‘Heartbroken’ By ‘Spider-Man 2’ Experience

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Before Tom Holland won over audiences and critics alike with his portrayal of Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, Andrew Garfield was headlining the Amazing Spider-Man franchise, an experience which he says left him “heartbroken.”

Speaking with Amy Adams for one of Variety‘s annual “Actors on Actors” interviews (courtesy of Comic Book Movies), Garfield acknowledges he wasn’t quite prepared for the complications that come from working on a major tentpole release, especially one that is part of a larger franchise.

“There were great things about it, I got to work with incredible actors, a really great director… I learned a lot about what feels good and what doesn’t feel good, and what to say ‘yes’ to. There’s something about being that young in that kind of machinery which I think is really dangerous.

“I was still young enough to struggle with the value system, I suppose, of corporate America. Really, it’s a corporate enterprise mostly.”

Garfield is certainly correct, as Sony had originally planned to use The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as a springboard into two additional sequels and a pair of spin-off films about Venom and the Sinister Six.

But when the film failed to connect with critics or audiences, those plans were scrapped, and Garfield blames the studio for being too focused on their larger plans to craft a satisfying standalone narrative.

“There’s something that happened with that experience for me where story and character were actually not top of the priority list, ultimately. And I found that really, really tricky.

“I signed up to serve the story and to serve this incredible character that I’ve been dressing as since I was three, and then it gets compromised and it breaks my heart. I got heartbroken a little bit, to a certain degree.”

Luckily, the dissolution of the Amazing Spider-Man series hasn’t prevented Garfield from remaining active. He received tremendous critical acclaim for his portrayal of World War II veteran Desmond Doss in last month’s Hacksaw Ridge, and can next be seen in Martin Scorcese’s Silence, set to open in theaters Dec. 23.

Both performances are expected to bring plenty of attention to Garfield as award season conversations get underway, but the actor isn’t resting on laurels. His latest project, Breathe, is in post-production, and he’s currently shooting the crime noir thriller Under the Silver Lake.

‘Saturday Night Live’ Review: Season 40, Episode 10 with Host Amy Adams

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With just a few days until Christmas, it’s time for the last episode of “Saturday Night Live” in 2014, and as usual, it culminates in the special holiday episode that brings some fun guest stars (one particularly huge, surprising cameo) and plenty of fun. This time it’s Amy Adams hosting the episode, and while it didn’t quite measure up to last year’s Jimmy Fallon hosted bonanza, there was still some really great stuff here. So let’s get down to it.

The Best

Asian American Doll – There were plenty of snide remarks on Twitter about the lack of an Asian American cast member on “SNL,” but that doesn’t take away the fact that this sketch is absolutely hilarious. It pokes fun at how carefully company’s have to tread so as not to offend anyone with their products, and the voiceover from Cecily Strong representing the toy and explaining it’s features (or lack thereof) had me laughing out loud really hard. And whoever that kid is who questions whether or not the doll is going to eat the dog deserves a bonus.

Saturday Night Live - The Tenderfields

The Tenderfields – Sadly this sketch isn’t online due to the use of the backtrack for Will Smith’s hit song “Miami,” but this parody of the real viral video from The Holderness Family that made the rounds last year was amazing. The raps were hilarious and the degradation of the family after their newfound fame just kept getting better and better. If you’re really itching to see this sketch, you might be able to find it right here.

Sam Smith/Dr. Evil – It’s not often that Mike Myers returns to “Saturday Night Live,” and this was more the a welcome surprise guest appearance by an old cast member. It was also an epic return for Austin Powers villain Dr. Evil, berating North Korea and Sony Pictures battle due to the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg comedy The Interview. Not only is this perfect because Dr. Evil is based on Lorne Michaels, but just having a fictional villain who is no more ridiculous than the real Kim Jong-un just puts in perspective just how much of an insane madman the leader of North Korea really is.

The Average

Christmas Serial – It was so hard for me not to put this in “The Best” category only because it’s such a perfect parody of the popular podcast “Serial,” that it’s almost more fascinating and impressive than it is funny. In addition, while the sketch doesn’t mock the real tragedy at the heart of the podcast, the laughs are a little uncomfortable because much of the parody takes cues from the various subjects and interviewees on the episodic story as well. But Cecily Strong is incredible with her Sarah Koenig impression. The Christmas angle is cute, but not hilarious, and that’s probably why this is ultimately good but not great.

Office Christmas Party – Well, Pete Davidson and Jay Pharoah aren’t quite as clever in their rapping as The Lonely Island, but the spirit is there, and the music video style really adds some flare to make this a fun holiday sketch. Everyone who has ever worked in an office has been to a Christmas party like this, so it should hit pretty close to home.

Cat Rescue Commercial – The first time this sketch debuted with host Charlize Theron last year, it was “The Weird” sketch, but now I’m used to it, and I’m all for Kate McKinnon doing plenty more animal rescue episodes in the future, especially with more cats. Bonus for Amy Adams feeling up on McKinnon as her lesbian lover and getting all awkward about it because the cats don’t need to know their business.

The Worst

Girlfriends Talk Show – This has never been a favorite recurring sketch of mine, and while Aidy Bryant always gives it everything she’s got, it just never seems to land for me. Making things worse this time was the awkward addition of One Direction, who really have no concept of timing in their presence, though that’s not surprising. Is there a way we can get Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant to do a different recurring sketch together?

A Very Cuban Christmas – Wow. This was just a mess. I’m betting since the Cuba news came in the middle of the week, it didn’t get as much development and polishing as other sketches, and that’s why it just doesn’t work very well. The impressions just aren’t fun characters to lampoon, and a couple of them are just decades old references to pop culture figures that no one really remembers. That just goes to show you how irrelevant Cuba had become to Americans, which maybe was part of the comedy, but it fell flat.

The Weird

Singing Sisters – This is one of those weird sketches that also deserves to be in “The Best” category because it’s original, odd, but perplexingly entertaining. You have no idea what’s going on in this sketch or why these three singing sisters are acting like this, but that makes it that much funnier. Combine that with that super weird ending, and you’ve got an absolutely great sketch.

Weekend Update

The extended time spent on the Kim Jong-un situation was great, but having Michael Che reference the heat he’s received on the internet for certain jokes without any context felt a little weird. But kudos to the joke at Colin Jost’s expense and also his interaction with Bobby Moynihan as he begins his turn as Kim Jong-un with great confidence, only to fall away from it quick.

Michael’s Neighbor Willie – Well, Kenan Thompson didn’t have much to do this episode. There was his hilarious appearance at the end of The Tenderfields sketch, and this Weekend Update segment. Thankfully, this bit with Thompson made up for his absence as a guy who has the worst luck and experiences but always looks on the bright side of life during the holidays.

Kim Jong-un – Short and sweet, this was an easy but amusing way to handle the new fear that show business suddenly has about touching Kim Jong-un and the North Korea situation with Sony Pictures. Seth Rogen, everybody!

Garth & Kat Sing Hanukkah Songs – It’s hard to top Mike Myers appearing to open the show, but if you’re going to have a couple veterans return, I’m glad it was Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig bringing back this folk music duo playing an always-hilarious improv game live on the air. This sketch always works so well because anything can happen with Fred Armisen making up a song on the spot.

The Host

Though the monologue was a little too cutesy, Amy Adams had some great fun this episode, complete with plenty of singing for the star of Enchanted, and some impressive rapping as well. Since this wasn’t her first rodeo (she was interrupted by Kristen Wiig in a previous monologue too), she was clearly comfortable with the show, and didn’t have a problem with the cue cards or going with the flow of each sketch. Adams really should be doing more comedies.


Cecily Strong & Kate McKinnon – Both of these ladies were all over this episode, elevating even the worse sketches of the night (mainly the Cuba Christmas special) with their spot-on characters. Individually, Strong was great in that voiceover for Asian American Doll, not to mention rocking that Christmas Serial sketch (which McKinnon also appeared in). Meanwhile, McKinnon’s creepy expression during The Tenderfields sketch combined with her dancing worked perfectly,  and her cat rescue character is a real gem. But they both take the cake with the Singing Sisters sketch. Great job, ladies.

The Final Word

The Christmas episode is always an exciting one, and Amy Adams definitely made this a solid episode to end 2014. It seems like there’s been some consistency in quality this season, despite the fact that there’s still been some growth and development with Michael Che, Pete Davidson and Leslie Jones joining the cast this season. They seem to be getting into their groove, even though there’s been a couple really bad episodes. Writers are finally starting to put forth more original and creative sketches and not just more easy talk show format sketches.

Here’s hoping they can keep it up when the show returns on January 17th with comedian Kevin Hart returning to host.